23 January 2009

Minolta Maxxum AF Zoom 35-70mm f4 Macro aka Mini Beercan

As an Sony Alpha A200 DSLR user i always browse around the internet to find the best and affordable lens for my camera, knowing the fact that most recent Konica Minolta DLSR cameras also using the same type of A mount that actually opening us up to a vast varieties of lenses to choose from.

At the same time, i been asked by several Sony Alpha owners whether such a lens (some which is as old as 20 years) is still reliable? The answer is both yes and no, it all depends on how the previous owner look after his lenses and if he know what hes doing then these lense can survive alot more than just 20 years.

The key to this is to find a reliable use lens reseller whom will answer most of your questions and also will not hesitate to teach you a thing or two about how to choose lens. I got a few contact of lens reseller in my contact so if you need any lenses just send me an email ok?

With that being said ... I actually bought another lens, as like all my previous used lens this one is also a legendary Minolta lens. Made as early as 1985 this lens survived more than 20 yrs of reputation and still making its marks on today's DSLR.

My Newly arrived Minolta Maxxum 35-70mm f4 Macro

Nicknamed The Mini Beer can, the Minolta Maxxum 35-70mm f4 Macro is originally built for film SLR but due to its great performance ... its still accepted as one of the best performing Minolta lens even on a DSLR.

A thank you note from my fav reseller

My lens seller sent me a note togehter with the lens thanking me for the purchase and telling me how great this lense is! in handwriting! not cold computer printout! How about that?!

49mm Spiralite custom polarizer

Wait ... theres more! Most reseller will just give you a cheap UV filter bundled with the lense you bought but this particular reseller actually given me a 49mm SPIRALITE CUSTOM circular POLARIZER! FOR FREE! Hows is that for value?!

Seriously i still do not know how much would a regular 49mm circular polarizer would cost but today i bought a regular UV filter from a camera shop downtown and they charged me RM60 (approximately USD18) for it. A polarizer would definitely cost alot more than that! So go figure it out :)

I took a few photos of my (yea its mine now! lol!) Minolta Maxxum AF Zoom 35-70mm lens with my Pheonix 100mm macro lens right after i received the package.

Minolta Maxxum AF Zoom 35-70mm front element

Minolta Maxxum AF Zoom 35-70mm front lens descriptions

Compact size for its range for easy storage, compared to the SAL1870 kitlens you get bundled with your Sony Alpha A200

Clean blades with no signs of oil nor fungus

Minolta Maxxum AF Zoom 35-70mm backside Metal A mount

Some technical brief data about the lens obtained from the internet :

Year: 1985
production: Discontinued
max. aperture: 4
min. aperture: 22
focal range: 35 - 70 mm
elements/group: 6/6
angle of view: 63,4 - 34,3
aperture blades: 7
minimum focus distance: 1000 (303 macro switch) mm
filter rotate when focusing: Yes
filter rotate when zooming: No
max. magnification: 1/14.3(1/4)
focus design: front
min. length: 52 mm
max. length: 70 mm
filter diameter: 49, front mm
hood: clip-on, round
weight: 255 g
color: black

Ok lets cut the craps and go straight to the photos quality, after all .. thats exactly why we bought a lens in the first place right? a few minutes after I got the package I am already on the street pushing this Mini Beer Can to the limit ...

So here goes!

Sharpness/ bokeh test , taken at 70mm, ISO400, f4 shutter speed 1/15s

Cloud test ... yes there is such a thing as cloud test bcoz i dem love clouds can?!

There is a known problem with this lens tho ... most of the reviews on the net reveals that this lense is particularly poor in handling flare, therefore ghosting is inevitable, to justify this i gotta take the lense out on a bright sunny day and try my very best to freaking get a ghost in the photos! lol nah i dun mean that ... literally :)

No this not the mechanic test! lol! Taken at 1/400s f4 70mm ISO400 .. no ghost here!

Color test ... this lens loves red!

Potrait test ... passED!

Can see the frozen soap dirpping from the sponge? shutter speed test 1/1250s, f8, 70mm iso400

Very bright day .. i gotta stop down to f8-f9 just to prevent from overexposure but still no sign of ghosting.

Car wash aneh spraying water at me lol!

This Minolta Maxxum AF Zoom 35-70mm f4 lens also boast its macro capability, in todays language this is barely a true macro lens. Its merely doing a closeup with a max magnigifcation of 1:4 as compared to the 1:2 ratio of my Pheonix 100mm macro lens.

But i m not complaining ... with its compact size, light weight and versatile focal length this will make a great walkabout lens as compared to my Pheonix 100mm macro.

Outta curiousity, I put this lense Macro mode to test. There is something quite "out-of-the-norm" for this AF lens. When i switch the lens to macro mode, the AF stop working and i gotta switch to MF. Apparently the lens is designed as such that whenever you activates the macro mode ... the AF feature will be disabled and you will need to focus manually to get your image right. Such a weird feature from an AF lens i must say.

This is the closest i can get to my Sony Ericson G900 which is about 30cm from the phone. Not close enough but pretty sharp image i must say.

soft drink cap at 30cm, great colors!

Evo 6 test! ... i seriously do not know wtf i m testing here lol! but nevertheless ... it turned out pretty great also!

10 sen corp test at 30cm no crop.

Corped and zoomed in ... still pretty sharp in the middle abit soft towards the edge

Verdict : WTF am i thinking?! why the fark i did not buy this lens ealier?!!! ARGH!!! *bang balls*
Cant seems to get ghost ... i think malaysia ghost only come out at night ... thats why! lol
Great piece of lens that performing exceptionally well in both indoor and outdoor!

Great Value for money too! I got this one for less than RM300 plus postage ( Approximately USD80 ... dont forget the free polarizer ok?)

The macro? well look at it this way ... if you bought this lense for its macro ability .... too bad, you got screwed! If not ... who da fark cares? its free anyway! better there than none rite? I m not complaining. Plus the fact that if you really got money to burn ... all you need to do is to add in a closeup filter with 4x magnification to turn this baby to a 1:1 macro lens and i heard the results is quite promising too!

To buy or not to buy? Need I say more?


  1. Anonymous11:45 am

    bro,try using manual focus on the body also...u can get a shorter distance to the object...baby beercan FTW...!

  2. good access. one day u have to teach me all those.

  3. The macro can be converted to AF with some minor modification..
    check this out..


  4. I did fine one when checking through the second hand [or third/four maybe already] market and found one in a decent condition. Having gotten myself into the joy of SLR through a Sony A200 [just to note] I thought why not test out how this rather cheap but interresting lens will stand against the Kitlens.

    I was shocked how freaking good the lens is. It is so fast with focus that where the Kitlens would give me maybe 3 pictures of a bird flying by this baby gave me 6. And again pretty darn sharp to.

    For that and its nice colours and zoom I don't mind foregoing some wide range and just having to walk. This mini beercan is a little wonder.


Comments moderation ENableD.